We arrived into Barbados 25 days and 3,689 nm after leaving St. Helena. We’re told this is the longest non-stop run in a Nordhavn under 100ft. Including the 11-day, 1,711 nm trip from Cape Town to St. Helena, we’d been at sea six weeks to the day between Cape Town and Barbados, and covered exactly…
We’ll get back to Lefkas Marina early April and hope to have Envoy back in the water mid April. ASAP after that we’ll leave the marina for a 3-4 day shakedown cruise and if all is well head towards Corfu.
We’ll clear out of Greece at Corfu and cross to Albania for about 2 weeks. Apart from wanting to spend some more time in this fascinating and by European standards very basic area this will give Envoy a spell out of EU waters avoiding any requirement to pay VAT.
We’ll clear back into Greece at Corfu and head south through the magnificent Ionian islands to the east coast and then south coast of Peloponnisos (mainland Greece). From there we’ll cruise east via the southern Cyclades Islands of Milos, Kimolos, Folefandros, Sikinos and Ios to Santorini.
Then we’ll cruise south to the central north coast of Crete and work our westwards before cruising back to the Peloponnisos coast by way of Antikithera and Kithera Islands.
Then we’ll be retracing our steps back up the Ionian Sea to Corfu before concluding our 2016 cruise at Lefkas Marina late October.
So now finally this doesn’t seem like something way ahead in the future and our excitement is building!
While we’ve been away from the boat things have still been happening recently on the technical front (apart from the various works completed up to mid last year and detailed in previous blogs):
-One of our bow thruster’s 24V battery bank batteries was damaged due to a short circuit caused by loose connections. Batteries in a bank should always be replaced together so we’ve got two new Deka batteries en route from a dealer in Italy to replace these.
-The hydraulic rams on our Naiad stabilisers have been leaking a small amount of oil and the “knuckles” on these rams have been worn. Parts are coming in from USA to replace these and at the same time the fluid and filter will be replaced.
-The windlass’s electric motor is being removed to be cleaned and checked. When you anchor hundreds of times in a year windlasses are subject to much more wear than normal – carbon dust collects in the back of the motor and can cause a short.
-Envoy’s hull and running gear are being cleaned off and prepared for anti fouling so this can be done within days of our arrival and we can launch quickly.
-Envoy’s large RHIB is having some maintenance done and the Yamaha 25hp outboard fully serviced so we can sea trial it on our arrival.
There’s a very long list of technicalities to be performed before we can start cruising and we expect this to take about 2-3 weeks based on previous experience. We’ll talk about this during April and hope there’s no nasty surprises!
I offer this article as a cautionary note to readers. I got scammed and I will take some of the credit for letting my guard down. That said, the story has a somewhat happy ending,
|Wayne’s Evaluation Report|
|Patrick headed out on the final zodiac tour|
|Cruising along the beach in front of the rookery|
|The rookery stretches for more than 1 mile|
|And to the top of the hills|
The abundance of life also meant that we saw death and feeding as the birds and seals did what they needed to do to survive. By 1130 all groups had had a chance to do a zodiac tour and the Seabourn Quest headed for Montevideo. The weather for at least the first 24 hours is for 4 meter seas on the beam with winds to 30 knots.
|Marching into the sea|
|Seeming to like doing it as a group|
|King Penguins swimming|
|Petrel feasting on a fur seal pup|
|And arguing over a King Penguin|
|Sloan Fellow Classmate Carlos Ormachea with Miriam & Patrick|
Our winter haven, Marina Jack, has been named Marina of the Year for 2015 in the large marina category by Marina Dock Age magazine.
|Marina Jack looking east into downtown Sarasota|
This did not come as a surprise to us. I have been telling people for years that Marina Jack is one of the best run facilities that we’ve visited during our cruising years.
We stopped at 135 marinas on our 2010 to 2012 Great Loop Adventure, one of which was Marina Jack. Cruising Lake Michigan from 1999 to 2010 we managed to visit all but two ports and easily have stayed at over 50 different marinas in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan. Include our east coast cruising and we tally visits to well over 200 marinas.
What makes a marina exceptional from our viewpoint turns out to be only a fraction of the criteria that Marina Dock Age uses to judge excellence. Well get to that in a moment.
|Looking northwest toward the Ringling Bridge and Longboat Key|
Location, location, location. Marina Jack is conveniently located at the foot of Main Street in Sarasota. That provides easy access to a wealth of restaurants, shops, culture (e.g., movie, opera, theater, symphony, botanical gardens, weekly events) and a Whole Foods within half a mile of the marina. This is great for transient boaters and even better for people like us. The car stays parked most of the time as we walk to events. None of that counts in Marina Dock Age’s criteria.
|Prestige 75 and Two Hargraves, a 125′ next to a 101′|
Marina Dock Age looked at Marina Jack’s partnership between public and private sectors, It’s strong ties in community events, highly experienced staff, industry involvement with boat shows and local brokerage affiliations, development of the City’s first mooring field, and it’s certification as a Clean Marina for the past 12 consecutive years. They also considered their continued infrastructure investment, hospitality, capacity to accommodate large yachts (up to 228 feet) and providing first class amenities and services to a wide variety of customers.
We respect all of the above but what we look at is far more basic. Here’s seven criteria that, in our opinion, evidence a well run marina:
- Pump-out: Easy to access (e.g., at the fuel dock) with sufficient hose length and suction to drain a tank in a reasonable amount of time
- Trash management: No trash on the docks or around dumpsters
- Security: Always working and not easy to penetrate
- Lighting: Dock walkways adequately lighted
- Dock safety: No hoses or power cables running across the dock creating a trip hazard.
- Clean bathrooms.
- MBWA (Management by walking around): Staff are constantly aware of everything going on and take action to correct problems.
Sounds simple. But we’ve stayed at excellent physical facilities with lots of amenities that fall short on those simple criteria and some that manage to come up short on almost every one. Marina Jack excels at each.
|Notice the large clean garbage containers|
Pump-out: The pump-out system consists of outlets mounted at every other finger with a cart containing 75 feet of hose. You can do it yourself or have marina staff do it. Equipment is in top condition. 100 gallons is offloaded in less than 10 minutes.
Trash Management: Large attractive white trash containers are located at every third finger of each of the docks. These are emptied several times a day. Large boxes left besides the container are removed quickly. I have no idea where the dumpsters are located and this is our second year.
Security: Marina Jack changes codes monthly. Malfunctions, which are rare, are rectified quickly. Security guards are stationed at the dock gate during events with a list of who is entitled to enter the dock.
Lighting: Docks are well lighted and bulbs that fail are replaced quickly.
Dock Safety: When it’s necessary to run a power cable across the dock, staff provide heavy rubber cable protectors.
Bathrooms: Marina Jack provides 10 individual bathrooms each equipped with its own shower. They are cleaned several times each day. It is rare to walk in to a messy bathroom.
MBWA: From our viewpoint, the marina manager, Sam Chavers, has fostered a culture of proactive correction of problems. Dock hands see problems and make them go away. Mention a problem to marina management and the problem is immediately corrected.
Examples: I casually mentioned to Dan, a mere (just joking) dock hand, that the hook on the piling between my and my neighbors slip was broken. Next day it was fixed. I asked for an extra cleat to secure my forward spring line. Done! I suggested mounting a squeegee in the bathroom to push shower water that “migrates” outside the shower back in. Result: They increased the cleaning interval and now the bathrooms are almost always spotless.
|Marina Jack staff at the Marina of the Year award presentation
L to R: Unknown, Joe Catell, Sam Chavers, Kat Wilson, Unknown, Annie Wilson
Note: The unknowns are Marina Dock Age executives
Marina Jack has a total of 318 slips with capacity for mega yachts up to 228 feet. Most are floating, 20 are dry storage hydraulic lifts and about 50 are fixed docks that ring Bayfront Park. Marina Jack also operates the Sarasota Bayfront Mooring Field with moorings for 100 boats.
Marina Jack caters to cruising boaters with 20 dedicated transient slips on the west side of D-dock. Our slip, D-11, which is rented on an annual basis, is on the east side of this dock. We get to meet lots of interesting people.
|D Dock looking toward the restaurants
The empty slips on the lower left are for transient boaters
Side Story: Last year I informed Sam Chavers, Director of Marina Operations, that we would be returning in 2015 and beyond and asked if we could have slip D-11. Why D-11 you ask? 1. It’s got a great view of Bayfront Park. 2. It’s has room to launch our tender from the port side. 3. It’s on the best dock; wide walkway and least number of boats. 4. It’s just far enough away from the restaurant music to where it can either be enjoyed or ignored. And 5, most important, Bayfront Park provides shelter from seas and wind. This is the calmest spot in the marina.
|Looking west to the sunset over Bayfront Park|
Sam informed me that I was in a permanent slip available for annual rental and that he was surprised that it was available. He further said that we needed to make reservations now or risk not even being able to stay here next winter. We had to make a $5,000 decision. Rent D-11 on an annual basis at $13,000 or spend $8,000 for 6 months and take our chances. Not a difficult decision.
|View from Marina Jack’s award winning fine dining restaurant|
The facility includes three restaurants with fine dining upstairs and two outside informal restaurants downstairs and a banquet facility.The Marina Jack II dinner cruiser takes diners for a floating dinner of Sarasota Bay.
Want something maintained, repaired or upgraded? No problem as long as it can be done at the dock. Marina Jack Services has a wide array of highly responsive top quality vendors that address almost every boating need. Joe Catell, Yacht Services Manager, and Kat Wilson, who’s title is Associate Manager of Public Services and Yacht Services Administrator (phew – long title) manage the operation and provide treats for Kodi. (Kodi loves this Kat.)
|Guided Discovery in Slip D-11|
Speaking of services. Marina Jack allows divers to clean bottoms at the dock, which for us is a very convenient. Our Massachusetts Marina does not allow this forcing us to leave the dock and anchor outside harbor. So what you say. Well, unfortunately the weather does not always cooperate resulting in rescheduling.
Back to criteria. The factors listed above are but a small part of the requirements that Marina Jack had to meet to earn Marina of the Year recognition. In fact, the application, according to Kat Wilson, was 180 pages long.
Sam Chavers, Director of Marina Operations, provided me with the rather extensive criteria they had to meet. I’ve listed at the end of the article. Here’s Sam’s official press release statement:
“This award is truly a testament to, not only our ownership, but our staff and customers, We’re honored and proud to represent the marina industry, the City of Sarasota, and our community with this nationally recognized distinction. Our business plan has always been to create points of difference for the customer in order to build one of the best marinas in the United States, and this award exemplifies our efforts towards that goal.”
Well, Sam and Company, congratulations. You and you team have truly achieved your goal.
Written by Les
January 21, 2016: Fall and Winter Cruising Views of the Pacific NorthwestEach winter we cruise the Pacific Northwest. The sun’s low position in the sky and the varied winter weather provides the stuff for better photos. Here’s a few you can…
This is our new pilothouse instrument panel.From right to left: New 7215 MFS butted up to the starboard 7215, GMI 10s next to one another on the port side of the panel New panel with 3 Garmin 7215 screens showing satellite weatherPort: Precipitation, …
Our early Saturday morning departure from the Roland Martin’s Marina at Clewiston came with a bit of a surprise. We were departing right at the start of a fishing tournament. Close to a hundred high speed outboard fishing boats were either departing th…
It was Sunny, Warm and Gorgeous! We were there for the National Meeting of the USPower Squadrons,
and had plenty of free time to catch up with friends that we mostly see at
these events. When that ended, we rented
a car and drove to Casa Grande, AZ.
Visited there with the Mangelsdorf kids’ Aunt Miriam (Gallo). Her desert home is beautiful. She spends much time and effort keeping
flowers blooming in the dry heat, and the birds are very happy that she
provides so well for them!
of days later, stopping in Carlisle, PA to have breakfast with son Geoff, Amy
and Pete! No more overseas duty for
Geoff. He is now part of the PeaceKeeping study group at the Army War
College. Good to know such activities
exist in our military!
occasional showers, and lots of lazy mornings with coffee and USA Today
provided by the hotel. We vegged out big
time. And loved every minute of it!
of the USPS, and to have dinner with Fred’s nephew and niece, Dan and
Heidi. Stopped in Burke on the way home,
and spent a day helping Jen and Chris pack up for the move to their new
the end of the month. I saw great
pictures of it. Stayed up to see the
beginning, dozed and woke as the moon was re-appearing.
weeks. Lots of happenings there! We went to New York City to follow up with
the nice dr. at Memorial Sloan Kettering who routinely checks Fred’s delicate
skin. Melanoma remains Gone! Yay! After that we crossed the street to the Plaza
Hotel and had Tea. I use a capital T as
the fare was about what you would expect to pay for a dinner for four. Yikes.
It was the Plaza, though, and we lollygagged for a long time before
catching the only conveyance we could find,
a pedi-cab, to get back to Grand Central Terminal. The UN was in session and there were black
SUVs and guys with earbuds everywhere, and no cabs to be found. (What is the
fare? I asked the Pedi-Cab Pedaler. It is metered, he replied.) At GCT he smiled and said “Meter says 12
minutes at $5.00/minute. That’ll be $60,
help executed a lovely party for Kris and John!
Sit down dinner for 18, and everything was dee-lish. No goodbyes for Kris and John, who moved to
their new home in Surfside Beach, SC the following Friday. The girls said “See ya later!” OCCC also had a work related party for
Kris. They will miss her a very great
attended the Power Squadron’s D-2 fall
conference in Poughkeepsie.
attended granddaughter Katie Rae’s string
department (she plays the cello) concert with Mark Wood—a vibrant string
performer who plays the 7 string electric violin/viola/cello/bass that he
invented and markets. He insists that
music be fun as well as emotionally satisfying, and fun it was!
were present when granddaughter Laurel trumpeted
the fanfare as the Arlington High School Band hosted its annual invitational
went to NYC with Linda Lee to see Wicked, and
had a great dinner in the Time/Life Building Restaurant.
making it ready for a new tenant. That
got a bit goofy when Central Hudson shut of the power (oops—their mistake) and
refused to turn it on again until they could shut off the gas valve to the
stove. Couldn’t find the gas valve. We had returned to Maryland to be ready to
join the French family in Washington DC on Saturday for Boo at the Zoo! And what a hoot that was! All the kids, large and small, got T&T
bags that were filled with candy etc. from the more than 40 stations around the
Zoo! Had a really fun evening! Free bus rides to the restaurant where we had
dinner, and back to the car. (If you ever need parking, check out
SpotHero.com. Efficient and
effective. Got us two parking spots in
busy Washington, in easy walking distance from the Zoo!)
|See the new ‘door’ for the shut off valve?|
Newburgh on Sunday afternoon. Fred was
able, of course, to locate the gas shutoff (and make it accessible) and in the
ultimate irony, Central Hudson’s rep came on Monday and turned the gas on before I arrived to show her where to
find the ‘necessary to keep the place from blowing up’ stove shutoff. Sigh.
with Rev. Chris from the UUCRT. Glad we
did—it was good to get to know him better!!
highlight our cruising life. Seems we
are spending as much time ashore as on the boat these days. Or, perhaps, that I’m recording the events
just so posterity will be served. Our
lives do seem to be a bit goofy at times, and we find ourselves enjoying the
goofiness just as it is!
scraped barnacles off the bottom of the boat.
His wife came as well (to watch for bubbles while he dove, and share a
glass of wine afterwards.) She works
with her dad doing inlays on guitars.
Guitars that sell for $30,000 and get put in MOMA and the Smithsonian! The people we meet provide a great part of
the enjoyment of the cruising life!
don’t ya know…) No vacuum, no
flush. Fred finally located a pinhole
in an important little diaphragm. Bing
bang boom, replaced it and Bob’s your Uncle!
awaiting good weather for crossing the Albamarle Sound. Got
to See Tom Hanks in the Bridge of Spies
at the Commodore–historic ‘pick–up-the–phone-and–order–popcorn-and-dinner-from–your-table-before-the–movie’-Theater. ‘Twas an excellent movie! Next day I bought my first persimmon at the
local Farmer’s Market. Made a great
sailboats. A group called the World
Cruising Club was staging two trips—one group was going to the Bahamas and
the other heading to the British Virgin Islands. Apparently these trips go every year.
Departure had been delayed, and the
sailors were anxiously watching the weather…as were we.
Swamp. As we were about to leave in the
morning, Robin and Karen arrived in a sailboat they designed and built in
Canada. A delightful couple with about 6
musical instruments on board. They were
especially interested in Fred’s harpsicle, as they built and sold harps for awhile. Karen shared some music with us
(Xxxxx Xxxxxxxxxxx doing Pete Seeger songs, for example) and showed us a really
great video of their cruise down the Hudson River with a Pete Seeger sound
in the afternoon. Still staging for the
Albamarle Sound. Today we crossed
without incident, I’m happy to report.
Of the many Sounds (for the non-boaters, Sounds are bodies of water that
open to the Ocean. Depending on depth,
wind, tides and currents, calm water can become very unsettling in a hurry)
along the ICW, crossing the Albamarle can be 2 hours of pain or pleasure. The pain can usually be avoided, as we did by staying in Portsmouth and then moseying. Caught a good ride, and now we’re anchored
for the night with 3 other boats in the area near the Alligator-Pungo Canal.
post this. Until then, hug a veteran and
be proud and grateful for their service!
In our immediate family, my dad and brother served in WWII and Korea,
and son Geoff continues his Army career with
his first stateside posting in several years! Also, Fred’s dad worked in the Petroleum
Industry during WWII, helping to keep the military moving, and granddaughter
Tarryn’s special guy, Ron, is an Army Veteran.
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